CAMPAIGNERS celebrated victory tonight (Tuesday) after a plan to build a £40million indoor waste recycling centre in Brierley Hill was thrown out.
Clean Power Properties had applied to build a state-of-the-art energy recovery centre on old railway sidings off Moor Street.
But hundreds of residents living nearby had objected to the scheme - a number of whom descended on Dudley Council House with placards to make their feelings clear to the borough's development control committee.
And after an impassioned speech from resident Tim Lee and councillors who have been supporting the protestors - the scheme was rejected to much applause in the packed public gallery.
Mr Lee, of Seagers Lane, said after the meeting: "We're very pleased about the decision but still apprehensive that Clean Power Properties will try to appeal - which we think would be unreasonable."
Residents feared the scheme would generate extra lorry movements in an already busy area, create pollution and unpleasant odours in the atmosphere and decrease house prices in what is fast becoming a popular residential area due to a series of new housing developments on old industrial sites.
Dr Nick Davey, of Bristol based environmental planning consultancy firm Entran Ltd, told the committee that worries about odour emissions were "unfounded and incorrect" and that the Environment Agency had raised no objections. He said high processing temperatures would destroy any odours and added: "The proposed building has been designed to be air tight sealed which means no odour can escape.
"All waste would be processed within two hours of its arrival - no waste would be received or processed outside." He said there would also be back up systems in place to take effect in the event of plant failure.
Councillors Zafar Islam, Christine Perks, Ken Turner, Keiran Casey and Qadar Zada, however, were not convinced and were among those who spoke against the scheme.
Cllr Zada, acting chairman of the committee, said the development would be an "unreasonable, unnecessary burden and nuisance on residents". He added: "I can't see how such a development would be beneficial to residents of Brierley Hill who would have to suffer this on a daily basis. I think it would be a disaster for the borough."
Cllr Islam said bridges in the area would need reinforcements and thousands spent on upgrading them to cope with extra trucks trundling through the area to the plant.
Clean Power Properties bosses say traffic movements would be limited to 70 vehicles a day but a report to the committee estimated that, in the event of the bridges deteriorating, lorry loads would potentially have to be reduced to meet weight restrictions resulting in extra truck trips to ship in the 650 tonnes of waste required by the plant per day.
Cllr Ken Turner welcomed the firm's aims to recycle and bring up to 30 new jobs to the area but he said the impact of extra traffic on the roads, in an area with lots of young children, concerned him "immensely".
Cllr Tim Wright said he "wouldn't want to live next to" such a development but he urged fellow councillors to visit a similar centre elsewhere in the country to experience for themselves whether it would generate the suggested odours. His idea, however, wasn't shared and councillors voted overwhelmingly against the proposed facility which would have produced renewable energy for up to around 10,000 homes - distributed through the local power network.
Resident Joanne Dodd, of North Street, said she was "happy and relieved" that committee members had turned down the scheme which protest organiser Mr Lee said would have turned Brierley Hill into "the waste dumping ground of the West Midlands."
Project manager Steve Crutchley said a decision on whether Clean Power Properties would appeal would be made shortly.